IDEA Complaint Decision 10-047

On June 14, 2010, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Manitowoc Public School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2009-2010 school year, provided services to a student with a disability, and properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) to meet a student’s unique needs.

On September 2, 2009, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of reviewing/revising the IEP, developing a statement of transition goals and services, and determining placement. The IEP developed on September 2, 2009, stated a projected date of implementation of September 11, 2009. The student and his parent attended the IEP team meeting. In reviewing and revising the student’s IEP, the team considered parent concerns regarding increasing reading and writing skills, the student’s strengths, evaluation results, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student. District staff expressed concern the student was behind in credit accumulations. The IEP developed included annual goals to increase reading comprehension, increase written language skills, and increase self-advocacy skills. Special education services included “guided instruction in reading comprehension and writing strategies and encoding skills for 45 minutes twice monthly” in the general education environment. The IEP team also discussed and developed measurable post-secondary transition goals, transition services, and courses of study.

On September 16, 2009, the student reached the age of 18 and all rights previously held by the parent transferred to the adult student. On November 30, 2009, another IEP team meeting was held. The IEP team reviewed the student’s goals and services and determined they remained appropriate to address the student’s needs. The parent expressed concerns about the student graduating with his class in June of 2010, and the IEP team discussed how he could work toward meeting graduation requirements. The IEP team also discussed the student’s poor attendance, and reiterated the importance of being in school.

Following the IEP team meeting, in a letter dated November 30, 2009, the adult student requested the district provide a special education reevaluation. On December 4, 2009, in response to the adult student’s letter, a Notice of Reevaluation was sent to the adult student. In a letter dated December 10, 2009, the district requested adding the school nurse to the evaluation team, due to the adult student’s illnesses and extensive absences. The district believed absences, as well as a medical doctor’s recommendation for a shortened school day, were considerable factors affecting the adult student’s ability to make progress in the general education curriculum. On December 18, 2009, the adult student signed the consent for evaluation. Later the same day, in a letter also dated December 18, 2009, the student revoked his consent for the evaluation stating the consent form signed earlier was “null and void.”

During the period between November 30, 2009, and April 19, 2010, the student attended school for only nine days. The last day he attended during this period was March 10, 2010. In January 2010, the district attempted to meet with the student through mediation to discuss his evaluation and programming concerns, and the student declined. On February 4, 2010, the district also sent a letter to the student reiterating the offer for mediation, offering to meet and discuss other options to receive services, and stating the importance of a reevaluation to determine ongoing education services. The student did not respond to these offers.

On April 12, 2010, the district sent a letter to the adult student informing him that as of April 19, 2010, he would be withdrawn from the school due to “non or poor attendance.” The letter informed the student he could return to the school district to successfully achieve a high school diploma and the district’s desire to assist him in the matter. The district also informed the adult student, if he should re-enroll, special education services would again be available to him.

The district, during the 2009-2010 school year, provided an opportunity for services, but the adult student did not avail himself of the services. The district also properly developed an IEP to meet the student’s unique needs.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST 8/10/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tag

For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720